This fall marks the 33rd anniversary of Seattle Goodwill’s Annual Glitter Sale and my 3rd anniversary of photographing for the campaign. I look forward to it each year for a variety of reasons:
- shooting new items is always fun, each one is photographic puzzle to be solved
- I get to collaborate with Alyssa Cave for three shooting days, and with Katy Flynn and (this year) Angelisa Mozzone on garment day (more about that in the next post)
- I get to collaborate with Katherine Boury and a wonderful team of people at Seattle Goodwill
- Katherine provides fantastic box lunches for our team, has lunch with us, after a now traditional cookie trade upon opening the boxes
If you are not familiar with the Glitter Sale, it goes sort of like this: each fall, the Dearborn location of Seattle Goodwill hosts a huge sale of donated designer fashion pieces — jewelry, accessories, and garments/textiles. This year, the sale is held on Nov 5th and 6th (rsvp here, learn about the details). As hugely popular as it has become, new methods of organizing access have evolved — now you can show up, receive a numbered wristband and a text to let you know when your entry time is coming up, so you can head off for coffee, etc., in the meantime.
Each year, Alyssa and I review everything we learned from the previous year, make improvements and adjustments as needed. At the end of each day’s shooting, we review what worked well and what could use a tweak. Now, in our third year, we are adjusting minor things for maximum efficiency. White gloves for handling jewelry while prepping and styling, for example.
As I mentioned above, there is a photographic puzzle associated with each unique item we shoot: best way to light it, style it, present it. As the items are donated, some have minor blemishes, scuffs, scratches: we present them as is, no photoshopping to ‘repair’ the items. For example, a brooch may have a missing stone, and the image will show that. Over the years, we have dialed in a lighting approach that lets us shoot a variety of products with fluid adjustments, and we set the shoot order of the day’s jewelry or accessories to group them both in terms of commonality of lighting as well as priority/preferred pieces for the campaign. We’ve dialed in the styling approaches that work for different items (necklaces vs. bracelets vs. rings, for example). We keep a running verbal ‘scoreboard’ each day so we always know where we are in the flow, how many items left to shoot, how much time remains (another piece of the overall puzzle is being wrapped, packed, and loaded out of the building on time). We’ve also identified in the past when extra help is needed, and have brought extra team members along (see the Part 2: Garment Day post).
This year, one of the puzzles to play with was a gently used Marc Jacobs watch: if you have seen my post about shooting timepieces, you’ll know that this sort of product typically takes hours to photograph. Naturally, we only had minutes for this one. Fortunately, the dozens of hours invested in watch photography this past summer paid dividends: Alyssa and I were able to dial in this watch image within fifteen minutes: she was holding a white card in each hand, moving them ever so slightly with each shot, and I was reaching out from behind the camera holding another reflective card. Puzzles are more fun with experienced teamwork!
The team at Goodwill does a terrific job of pulling spectacular pieces to represent the various types and brands you will find when the doors open, and it is a real pleasure to work with unique vintage and recent pieces from a wide range of design houses. Learn more about the Glitter Sale as well as the valuable work done by Seattle Goodwill here:
Here are a few of my personal favorites from this year’s jewelry day shoot and the accessory day shoot. It’s not every day one gets to photograph pieces from Tiffany, Marc Jacobs, Coach, Chelsea, Joan Rivers, Longchamp, Tory Burch, John Fluevog, Stella McCartney, Alberta Ferretti, and Gucci, to name a few…..
all images/content © Bret Doss, all rights reserved